ShareThis Page

NEC football squads holding plenty of talent

| Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

Robert Morris football coach Joe Walton said it's a good time to be in the Northeast Conference.

League members now can compete in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, as Robert Morris did last season for the first time in school history. And NEC products, such as Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin of Monmouth, dot NFL rosters.

While Central Connecticut State was named the league's preseason favorite Wednesday for the second consecutive season, Robert Morris was voted third behind Duquesne — speaking to the league's depth.

"The mere fact that the conference has grown so much and guys are getting to the NFL now is a big thing for the conference. It helped the recruiting," Walton said. "Some of them have gone to the NFL and had success, so that makes us more viable, I think, to prospects. Over the last two or three years, our recruiting has been better."

Junior quarterback Jeff Sinclair (Highlands) was named to the All-NEC preseason team. Sinclair completed 128 of 257 passes for 1,920 yards and 22 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions in 2010.

"The best way to describe Jeff is he's a proven winner," Walton said. "He's a very competitive kid who can do a lot of things on his own. He's definitely our leader on offense. Certainly the way he goes will tell a lot about what kind of season we have."

Duquesne junior running back Larry McCoy, also named to the All-NEC team, is another one of the league's rising stars. McCoy carried 252 times for 1,291 yards and six touchdowns last season. He'll run behind an offensive line featuring five returning starters.

"He was a major part of our offense last year," coach Jerry Schmitt said. "Depending on how defenses play us, I guess that'll dictate his role. His development's been great."

Schmitt sounded even more enthusiastic about Duquesne's new stadium and training facilities, which he believes will allow the program to become more of a factor in league play. Duquesne joined the NEC in 2008.

"Last year, we had our new field, new bleachers. We've been in a brand new office for just three days," he said. "The kids will walk in Sunday to a brand new locker room. We have a commitment from the university and the president and the athletic director."

St. Francis coach Chris Villarrial said his goal is to improve on last year's 1-10 record.

"You've got to focus all your positive energy forward," he said.

Honor roll

Area players named to the All-NEC preseason team:

» KR Anthony Coleman, Robert Morris, Sr.

» OL Ron Dunn, Duquesne, Sr.

» DL Alex Inda, Duquesne, Sr.

» TE Shandrae King, Sr.

» LB Serge Kona, Duquesne, Jr.

» RB Larry McCoy, Duquesne, Jr.

» OL Logan Miles, Robert Morris, Sr.

» DL Nolan Nearhoof, Robert Morris, Jr.

» QB Jeff Sinclair, Robert Morris, Jr.

Additional Information:

Preseason poll

The Northeast Conference preseason coaches poll, with first-place votes in parentheses:

1. Central Connecticut State (5)

2. Duquesne (2)

3. Robert Morris (1)

4. Albany

5. Bryant (1)

6. Monmouth

7. Wagner

8. Sacred Heart

9. Saint Francis

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me